He’s been hosting The Wright Stuff for 18 years.

But on Thursday an emotional Matthew Wright, 52, said goodbye to his Channel 5 show and thanked fans and colleagues for their loyalty over the years.

The veteran presenter’s voice shook as he paid tribute to his two friends, Ben Ashwork and Kim Hodge, who died during his time on the show.

It's over: On Thursday an emotional Matthew Wright, 52, said goodbye to his Channel 5 show and thanked fans and colleagues for their loyalty over the years

It's over: On Thursday an emotional Matthew Wright, 52, said goodbye to his Channel 5 show and thanked fans and colleagues for their loyalty over the years

It’s over: On Thursday an emotional Matthew Wright, 52, said goodbye to his Channel 5 show and thanked fans and colleagues for their loyalty over the years

In the bittersweet finale, he was gifted a green cake, with a decoration of him fishing, and a bottle of Champagne, and watched a sentimental highlight reel from over the years.

Matthew shed some light on why he was choosing to leave The Wright Stuff, explaining: ‘It’s very clear because my dad died young – to put a roof over my head.

‘So after I did [finished paying] the mortgage, I thought ok. My dad died at my age so I want to do some living.

‘Hopefully a bit of work along the way or I’ll be starving.’ 

BBC presenter Jeremy Vine has been unveiled as the face of the Channel 5 programme in September.

Emotional: In the bittersweet finale, he was gifted a green cake, with a decoration of him fishing, and a bottle of Champagne, and watched a sentimental highlight reel from over the years

Emotional: In the bittersweet finale, he was gifted a green cake, with a decoration of him fishing, and a bottle of Champagne, and watched a sentimental highlight reel from over the years

Emotional: In the bittersweet finale, he was gifted a green cake, with a decoration of him fishing, and a bottle of Champagne, and watched a sentimental highlight reel from over the years

End of an era: The veteran presenter's voice shook as he paid tribute to his two friends, Ben Ashwork and Kim Hodge, who died during his time on the show

End of an era: The veteran presenter's voice shook as he paid tribute to his two friends, Ben Ashwork and Kim Hodge, who died during his time on the show

End of an era: The veteran presenter’s voice shook as he paid tribute to his two friends, Ben Ashwork and Kim Hodge, who died during his time on the show

The show will be rebranded and renamed when the Points Of View star takes over later this year, but the star will continue to host his BBC Radio 2 show, which pays him £750,000.

Jeremy commented: ‘I’m delighted to be carrying on all the conversations he has started, with all the guests he’s made me feel I know over the years.

‘Radio 2 has a beautiful editorial overlap with the serious but accessible agenda of this show. I am proud to be Channel 5’s choice to front it.’

New host: BBC presenter Jeremy Vine has been unveiled as the face of the Channel 5 programme, following the news of Matthew Wright's departure after 18 years at its helm

New host: BBC presenter Jeremy Vine has been unveiled as the face of the Channel 5 programme, following the news of Matthew Wright's departure after 18 years at its helm

New host: BBC presenter Jeremy Vine has been unveiled as the face of the Channel 5 programme, following the news of Matthew Wright’s departure after 18 years at its helm

Staying with the BBC: Jeremy's representatives confirmed to MailOnline he will still be honoring his contracts with the BBC, including presenting his weekday Radio 2 show

Staying with the BBC: Jeremy's representatives confirmed to MailOnline he will still be honoring his contracts with the BBC, including presenting his weekday Radio 2 show

Staying with the BBC: Jeremy’s representatives confirmed to MailOnline he will still be honoring his contracts with the BBC, including presenting his weekday Radio 2 show

Ben Frow, director of programmes for Channel 5 said: ‘Jeremy Vine is a brilliant broadcaster whose supreme ability to make challenging stories accessible to a wider audience, not to mention his intellect, energy and wit, makes him the perfect choice to present our daily current affairs show.

‘This high calibre of talent across our news, documentary, current affairs and factual output demonstrates the evolution of the Channel 5 content slate.

‘I’d like to thank Matthew Wright, who has helped make the show such a success for nearly two decades.’

Jeremy’s representatives confirmed to MailOnline he will still be honoring his contracts with the BBC, including presenting his weekday Radio 2 show. 

Social media reaction: There was a mixed response from fans  following the announcement

Social media reaction: There was a mixed response from fans  following the announcement

Social media reaction: There was a mixed response from fans following the announcement

Last year, the broadcasting company was forced to publish the salaries of its highest-paid stars for the first time.

Jeremy was found to earn a staggering £700,000 to £749,999 in the report, which revealed that two-thirds of those earning more than £150,000 per year were men.

BBC’s China editor Carrie Gracie resigned from her role in protest at unequal pay, and called for men and women at the corporation to be paid the same. 

In January, the presenter became one of six male stars including Huw Edwards, Nicky Campbell, John Humphrys, Jon Sopel and Nick Robinson who accepted pay cuts following the fallout.

On the move: Matthew Wright has said that he no longer wants to be a ‘passing ship’ with his wife Amelia, after 18 years on The Wright Stuff

There was a mixed reaction from fans online, with one person branding it the appointment a ‘coup’ for Channel 5.

However, another unimpressed social media user queried how Jeremy would be juggling his BBC commitments with his new role.

Meanwhile, Matthew admitted he’s been left with ‘no idea’ what he’s doing next, after quitting The Wright Stuff amid claims of a fall out with production bosses.

The star said he no longer wanted to live ‘like passing ships’ with wife of eight years Amelia and was tired of the 3am starts and 7pm bedtimes.

Channel 5 host Matthew returned to the breakfast show to give his reasons for the shock departure, confirming he would be gone by the end of June.

Cute couple: Matthew met his second wife Amelia Gatte at a garden party held by Miriam Stoppard in 2007, with the couple tying the knot three years later in the Caribbean. He now says that they don't see enough of each other

Cute couple: Matthew met his second wife Amelia Gatte at a garden party held by Miriam Stoppard in 2007, with the couple tying the knot three years later in the Caribbean. He now says that they don't see enough of each other

Cute couple: Matthew met his second wife Amelia Gatte at a garden party held by Miriam Stoppard in 2007, with the couple tying the knot three years later in the Caribbean. He now says that they don’t see enough of each other

‘I’m up at the 3 in the morning these days,’ Matthew told his co-hosts. ‘I go to bed at 7pm and it’s been 18 years of this.

‘Mrs Wright [and I] pass like ships in the night and at some point, you’ve got to have a change.’

He went on to say: ‘The demands of getting up for an early morning show – and I’m not going to equate it with digging roads, which is hard as well – but it takes its toll on the old brain.’

Matthew has been with his second wife Amelia, a Sony music executive, since 2007 and they have been married since 2010. 

Giving his reasons: Matthew returned to The Wright Stuff on Wednesday morning to give his reasons for his shock departure

Giving his reasons: Matthew returned to The Wright Stuff on Wednesday morning to give his reasons for his shock departure

Giving his reasons: Matthew returned to The Wright Stuff on Wednesday morning to give his reasons for his shock departure

The couple have tried numerous times to start a family, though tragically, each of their IVF pregnancies had ended in miscarriage.

Matthew expressed hopes that they would have two frozen embryos implanted on his return from the I’m A Celebrity jungle in 2016.

However Amelia doesn’t seem to be the only reason for Matthew’s Channel 5 departure, since a source close to the presenter told MailOnline on Tuesday that he had had ‘a bitter row’ with new production team, ITN Productions.

‘Matthew had enough… he wanted out,’ explained the source. ‘When he refused to back down and issue an apology, the show bosses tried to force him to take a week off to reconsider. 

Hopes to start a family: During an appearance on I'm A Celebrity in 2016, Matthew said he and Amelia had been trying for a family

Hopes to start a family: During an appearance on I'm A Celebrity in 2016, Matthew said he and Amelia had been trying for a family

Hopes to start a family: During an appearance on I’m A Celebrity in 2016, Matthew said he and Amelia had been trying for a family

‘He told them he wasn’t going to do that and tensions reached boiling point.’

The TV host is believed to have created tensions when he refused to publicly apologise for a remark made by a celebrity guest about a transgender campaigner being born a boy. 

He was warned that unless he broadcast an apology on the next day’s show, he would not be allowed on air. 

As a result, Matthew refused to front the show that week and viewers were simply told he was ‘off sick’. 

Matthew has now confirmed that he has left The Wright Stuff without a job to go.

‘I’m here late June, early July,’ he said on Wednesday’s show. ‘And I have no idea what I’m going to do next. I am available for weddings, birthdays and Bat Mitzvahs.’ 

New chapter: Matthew announced his departure from Channel 5's weekday current affairs programme The Wright Stuff on Tuesday, after almost 18 years

New chapter: Matthew announced his departure from Channel 5's weekday current affairs programme The Wright Stuff on Tuesday, after almost 18 years

New chapter: Matthew announced his departure from Channel 5’s weekday current affairs programme The Wright Stuff on Tuesday, after almost 18 years

The journalist, 52, has presented the flagship current affairs morning programme since it began on September 11, 2000. 

ITN took over from Princess Productions in January, with the latter previously producing the show for nine years.

Sources have told MailOnline that Matthew found his relationship with the new production team ‘challenging’.

Insiders suggest Matthew experienced ‘creative differences’ with the team and felt he ‘did not not have as much input’ under the new production company, who had its own way of doing things.

The TV presenter is now said to be in discussions with numerous other broadcasters, and will make soon appear on BBC One’s Question Time.

 Moving on: The journalist turned TV host, 52, has presented the flagship morning show since it began on September 11, 2000, but is looking forward to a lie in

 Moving on: The journalist turned TV host, 52, has presented the flagship morning show since it began on September 11, 2000, but is looking forward to a lie in

 Moving on: The journalist turned TV host, 52, has presented the flagship morning show since it began on September 11, 2000, but is looking forward to a lie in

Despite The Wright Stuff still ‘flying high in the ratings’, Wright said it was time to branch out into ‘new projects’ when he announced his departure on Tuesday morning.

In a statement released to MailOnline, he said: ‘After almost 18 glorious years on Channel 5 and with the show flying high in the ratings, I feel it’s time to depart and try my hand at something new.’

Ben Frow, Channel 5’s Director of Programmes, added: ‘We would like to thank Matthew for his passion, hard work and enthusiasm over the last 18 years and for making the show what it is today. 

‘He will be sorely missed and we wish him all the very best for the future.’  

Taking to Twitter after the news broke, Matthew wrote: ‘18.5 years of 4am starts and 8pm bed times. Can’t wait to rejoin the human race…’ 

The star also poked fun at Victoria Derbyshire, who hosts her eponymous current affairs programme at the same time, posting: ‘I bet Victoria Derbyshire will be thrilled’. 

He says he has been flooded with support since the news, admitting that he felt ‘overwhelmed’ with nice messages on Twitter. 

‘I had no idea people could be so nice on Twitter,’ he said on Wednesday. ‘Normally, it’s like ‘You’re this, you’re that and I hope you die a hideous death.’ Yesterday, I was quite overwhelmed.

‘Some of the messages read like I had died. I’m not planning on parking it just yet.’  

Back to reality: Taking to Twitter after the news broke, Matthew wrote that he was looking forward to having later bed times and some lie ins 

Back to reality: Taking to Twitter after the news broke, Matthew wrote that he was looking forward to having later bed times and some lie ins 

Back to reality: Taking to Twitter after the news broke, Matthew wrote that he was looking forward to having later bed times and some lie ins 

Teehee: The star also poked fun at Victoria Derbyshire, who hosts her eponymous current affairs programme at the same time, writing: 'I bet Victoria Derbyshire will be thrilled x'

Teehee: The star also poked fun at Victoria Derbyshire, who hosts her eponymous current affairs programme at the same time, writing: 'I bet Victoria Derbyshire will be thrilled x'

Teehee: The star also poked fun at Victoria Derbyshire, who hosts her eponymous current affairs programme at the same time, writing: ‘I bet Victoria Derbyshire will be thrilled x’

His clash with broadcasters erupted following a lively debate about the gender pay gap involving two of his guests, transgender rights activist Paris Lees and Anne Hegerty, the quiz personality on The Chase.

When Anne, 59, queried whether the pay gap between men and women was actually a reality, 29-year old Paris – who transitioned from a man to a woman – countered: ‘So you don’t think there’s an old boy’s club at the top then?’  

Anne replied: ‘Not really – well, you used to be a boy, you’d know that.’ 

Immediately after the show ended Matthew was summoned to a ‘crisis’ meeting with Channel 5 honchos, who were ‘ terrified ‘by the spectre of a Twitter backlash from the trans community.

The former newspaper columnist was ordered to broadcast a pre-emptive apology on his next day’s show – despite the fact there had not been one complaint. 

‘They were freaking out, terrified of getting flak from the trans lobby. It never happened,’ confided a source.

Insiders on the show revealed Wright steadfastly refused to back down and issue a grovelling mea culpa.  

‘Matthew is absolutely furious,’ confided a source. ‘He felt it was time to draw a line in the sand, one he was not prepared to cross. It’s a medical fact Paris Lees was born a boy, a fact she has always acknowledged.

‘Matthew is a journalist, he believes in facts, in telling the truth. He said I am not apologising for someone telling the truth.  

‘Matthew stood his ground and said there was nothing to apologise for. Anne Hegerty had not been deliberately offensive and Paris herself said later she had not taken any offence.’

Furious: The announcement comes after The Daily Mail revealed Matthew was locked in a bitter row with TV bosses over refusing to publicly apologise for a remark made by a guest

Furious: The announcement comes after The Daily Mail revealed Matthew was locked in a bitter row with TV bosses over refusing to publicly apologise for a remark made by a guest

Furious: The announcement comes after The Daily Mail revealed Matthew was locked in a bitter row with TV bosses over refusing to publicly apologise for a remark made by a guest

The source added: ‘Look, had Paris said she was upset, Matthew would have apologised to her off his own back. The LGBT community has no bigger friend than Matthew.

‘What really upset him is that Channel 5 then blatantly lied about why he wasn’t hosting the show that day, claiming he was feeling sick. Viewers and staff alike were not told the truth about his absence.

‘But Channel 5, like the rest of TV, is in the grip of a kind of politically correct madness. Matthew feels he’s been caught up in some Orwellian nightmare, where truth becomes twisted to suit a specific agenda.’ 

As a result, Matthew missed a rare Friday show and veteran presenter Anne Diamond was contacted and drafted in as a substitute.

Viewers were told Matthew was ‘off sick’ and the perfunctory apology was broadcast to The Wright Show’s audience.

A friend of the star’s told The Daily Mail last month: ‘Matthew told them, ‘Fine, I won’t do the show then. I don’t see why I have to apologise for one of my guests stating a medical fact. It’s the truth.”  

Clash: The clash erupted following a lively debate about the gender pay gap involving two of his guests, transgender rights activist Paris Lees (L) and Anne Hegerty, from The Chase

Whilst Matthew’s show has been staple viewing for legions of loyal viewers, the series has not been without controversy in its 18 year run. 

Earlier this year, the star spoke with MailOnline about his highs and lows on the show. 

He admitted there have been a ‘few blunders’ along the way, one of which he will ‘regret until the day he dies’.

He was widely criticised in late 2009 for naming fellow broadcaster John Leslie in relation to an alleged assault that Ulrika Johnsson wrote about in her autobiography, something which he was never charged with and strenuously denied.

‘I am really not that evil,’ he said, ‘I consider John a friend I let him down and let myself down.’ 

Standing in: In a late night call, veteran presenter Anne Diamond was contacted and drafted in as a substitute. Later, the perfunctory apology was broadcast to the Wright Show's audience

Standing in: In a late night call, veteran presenter Anne Diamond was contacted and drafted in as a substitute. Later, the perfunctory apology was broadcast to the Wright Show's audience

Standing in: In a late night call, veteran presenter Anne Diamond was contacted and drafted in as a substitute. Later, the perfunctory apology was broadcast to the Wright Show’s audience

The star also noted that a memorable moment was ad-libbing post-Brexit. 

Mistakes aside Matthew said he’s proud of what he’s accomplished over the past 18 years, particularly ‘winging it’ for a three hour special post-Brexit vote.

‘The one thing I can never forget because it was a nightmare and joyous was our Brexit show in June 2016,’ he recalled.

Matthew explained how he and his team had spent the entire day before prepping a lengthy piece for a remain vote, including a segment on how the then Prime Minister David Cameron should resign.

‘I woke up at 3am and saw that we were going out of Europe. Every one was in a real faff, and we had to rewrite it,’ he recalled. 

At first it seemed all wasn’t lost because as least they had their segment on why the PM should leave his post to rely on.

But just moments before they were due to go one air, Cameron announced he was stepping down, leaving their work redundant.

‘We winged it, the whole programme for start to finish. From being a nightmare at the start to the end. I am extremely proud of that show.’

Matthew also revealed how he was pranked by Richard Madeley who stood in for The Wright Stuff host during the Christmas holiday in 2016.

The veteran presenter swapped Matthew’s prop vodka bottle that is normally filled with water for actual spirits.

‘I didn’t touch it for six months,’ he recalled, ‘I go down and pick it up and neck it. It was all for show, before I realised I had drank a third of vodka. I was quite sozzled.’ 

Another particular standout moment for the married host came when he challenged ‘good sport’ Tory MP Ed Vaizey to take ‘herbal viagra’ in 2008.

‘I salute him because he didn’t run away,’ he said.

Cheeky: Matthew also revealed how he was pranked by Richard Madeley who stood in for The Wright Stuff host during the Christmas holiday in 2016

Cheeky: Matthew also revealed how he was pranked by Richard Madeley who stood in for The Wright Stuff host during the Christmas holiday in 2016

Cheeky: Matthew also revealed how he was pranked by Richard Madeley who stood in for The Wright Stuff host during the Christmas holiday in 2016

From the moment he realised he was ‘sozzled’ live on air after accidentally drinking half a bottle of vodka, to ad-libbing through a Brexit special show after the unexpected leave result, the veteran host said he’d rather be doing than entertaining his audience. 

Matthew, who has grilled countless high profile guests since he began fronting the show in 2000, also revealed who had been the worst ever interviewee in it’s 18 year run.

The star claimed former X Factor hopeful Frankie Cocozza stands out in his mind, for all the wrong reasons.

‘He looked rough as, stank of booze, said he’d been up all night s****ing birds,’ said Matthew of the singer’s appearance on the show back in 2012.

‘It was painful to watch. By the end of it he’d shut up. It was a horrible show,’ he recalled.   

Oh dear: Matthew, who has grilled countless high profile guests since he began fronting the show in 2000, also revealed former X Factor hopeful Frankie Cocozza was his worst guest

Oh dear: Matthew, who has grilled countless high profile guests since he began fronting the show in 2000, also revealed former X Factor hopeful Frankie Cocozza was his worst guest

'He looked rough as, stank of booze, said he'd been up all night s****ing birds,' said Matthew of the singer's appearance on the show back in 2012.

'He looked rough as, stank of booze, said he'd been up all night s****ing birds,' said Matthew of the singer's appearance on the show back in 2012.

Oh dear: Matthew, who has grilled countless high profile guests since he began fronting the show in 2000, also revealed former X Factor hopeful Frankie Cocozza was his worst guest

One to watch: Matthew also famously appeared on I'm A Celebrity... Get Me Out Of Here! in 2013, and was the fourth contestant to be eliminated

One to watch: Matthew also famously appeared on I'm A Celebrity... Get Me Out Of Here! in 2013, and was the fourth contestant to be eliminated

One to watch: Matthew also famously appeared on I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here! in 2013, and was the fourth contestant to be eliminated

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